Spencer James Van Duzer passed away in his sleep of natural causes on June 20 at the age of 22. He lived a full life surrounded by a family who adored him, and friends who treasured his enthusiasm and joy for life.
Spencer was the son of Kim and Rich Van Duzer, and grew up in Pacific Palisades with his older brother Denton and younger brother Hunter.
He attended elementary and middle school at Frostig School. He then ventured across the country to attend high school and post-high school programs at Riverview School in beautiful Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where he made lifelong friends.
At commencement, Spencer was awarded the Seth Cutler Award for his excellence in culinary skills. Maureen Brenner, the head of Riverview School, said, “Spencer always had a good word for everyone he met. He cared deeply for his classmates, and always provided a helping hand to those in need.”
Spencer attended Cape Cod Community College where he studied landscaping.
Recently, Spencer had moved to a supported apartment in Laguna Beach, California, across the street from the beach, which made sense, as Spencer loved everything about the ocean and grew up riding the waves.
He was the self-proclaimed “Fish Whisperer” and was happiest fishing in the ocean, spear fishing with his brothers, and fly fishing with his family in Sun Valley, Idaho. His passion and interest in the ocean continued as he served as a docent at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point.
Spencer’s big heart and natural ability to make friends made his transition to Laguna Beach a welcome one. Special Olympics was a very important part of his life, and he competed year round in basketball, softball and floor hockey alongside other amazing athletes and volunteers.
He built a strong bond with his Laguna Hills Hawk teammates, coworkers at Gelson’s and Panera where it felt like family. Spencer’s passion for sports was nonstop as he enjoyed running in local 10Ks and was training for the 2019 LA Marathon.
Spencer had just finished writing a book where he shared his thoughts and reflections on how best to live a successful and happy life while dealing with learning challenges.
Spencer Van Duzer brought love and happiness to everyone who had the good fortune to meet him. His sense of humor, easy-going manner and his contagious laugh will be missed.
The best way to celebrate and honor Spencer is to brighten another person’s day.